Rip M.D. is the debut graphic novel from The Angry Beavers creator Mitch Schauer, a creepy, fun-filled all-ages adventure introducing Ripley Plimpt, an eleven-year-old boy whose ordinary life is turned upside-down when he discovers that monsters are not only real, but are also in desperate need of his help to overcome their very real problems.
One foggy night, while searching for monsters in the cemetery behind his house, Ripley finds and rescues the tiniest of bats impaled on a thorn bush. What Ripley doesn’t realize is that he’s just saved the life, or “un-life,” of one of the world’s most dangerous night creatures — a vampire! Word spreads among all monsters of Rip’s heroic gallantry and kindness. Before long, legendary and mythical monsters from around the world are showing up on his doorstep proclaiming Rip as Rip M.D. — Monster Doctor!
Writing and illustrating the graphic novel, Emmy-Award winning and long time producer, writer and designer Schauer has teamed with comic book veteran Mike Vosburg who’s bringing his innovative, illustrative style to the artwork’s inking. Michael Lessa and Justin Yamaguchi are creating a whole new look for Rip M.D. with their beautiful color and special effects expertise.
Rip M.D. is the first collaboration between the independent animation studio Lincoln Butterfield, who’s producing the graphic novel, and Fantagraphics Books, who’s publishing it.
Tony Millionaire's been plugging his Maakies t-shirts available from I Love Waterloo, so we will too! There's a bunch of designs (that last one is my favorite), plus limited-edition signed posters. Do some weekend shopping!
We missed last week's update, through nobody's fault but my own. Sorry about that!
This week we are changing our approach somewhat. Steven Weissman's Barack Hussein Obama continues as usual but instead of a one-panel teaser we're bringing you the full strip — you'll still need to click through to see it at its original size, though. Plus, starting this week we're bringing you a variety of previously unpublished, unseen or out-of-print strips and stories from some of your favorite Fantagraphics artists! On with the show:
"I'm including the rough as well as the finish because the rough has more charm... This was originally a page I pitched to a business magazine — rhymes with diplingers — on their request. The art director seemed quite shaken by it. "This is just, I don't know, really disturbing," he informed me, his voice shaky with emotion. "We're all a little freaked out." They rejected both it and the more benign, fluffy substitute I proposed — too frightened.
"At that time The New Yorker was regularly shaking me down for comics, and I passed this along to them and, to my amazement, they accepted it for the back page. (This was 2003, before the cartoon caption contest took over). The following thirty or so revisions went smoothly, it was going in, and then — we invaded Iraq. The New Yorker featured an elegaic poem written for the occasion instead, something about how lusty Mars doth trumpet forth, etc. They quickly forgot this page, and it was never printed."
At his Cats Without Dogs blog Jason posted a page from his next all-new graphic novel, The Isle of 100,000 Graves (written by Fabien Vehlmann), to be published in France by Glenat in March 2011 and in English by Fantagraphics in May of that year.
• Review: "Rip M.D. is like the marriage of Cartoon Network and horror comics (perhaps an EC title or something from Warren Publications), because it is nonsensical and kooky like an old Scooby-Doo cartoon, but also steeped in monsters, both of the supernatural and human variety, like a pre-code horror comic book. The best thing about Rip M.D. is the lead character, Ripley Plimpt. [...] This is the perfect set-up: a curious, brave kid and a world of monsters. Hopefully, there is more to come, but our first appointment with Rip M.D. is pure fun." – Leroy Douresseaux, Comic Book Bin
• Review: "Fantagraphics' ongoing quarterly anthology continues here in this third edition ... One of the things I like about Mome is that artists can do almost anything, and sometimes do. ... [I]f you are fond of anthologies and like to be on the edge of indie comics while still being given the comfort of a larger publisher who can exert quality control, then pick up a copy of Mome. I'd recommend this one, if you can find it." – Rob McMonigal, Panel Patter
• Review: "A Schulz library favorite and avid patron, Evan Dorkin, recently donated Alex Chun and Jacob Covey’s retrospective book of The Glamor Girls of Don Flowers... This thick beauty of a book features work spanning several decades (1940s-1960s) and Flowers's dual pen and brush captured all the fashion that lied therein. Flowers gained popularity in newspapers for his gorgeous women, their cutting edge fashion and high-class life. Part of the appeal of this strip lies in the fact that just as many jokes are made by women at the expense of men, Flowers made sure of that." – Jen Vaughn, the Schulz Library blog
• Plug:Funnybook Babylon's Jamaal Thomas gives a "Brief Recommendation" to Jason's The Left Bank Gang: "F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce as cartoonists that pull a heist. Go read this now."
• Coming Attractions: Luca Boschi of Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore reports on our forthcoming editions of Floyd Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse
Summer 2010 interns Ian Burns, Melissa Gray, Jamie Hibdon, Kailyn Kent, Michael Litven and Christina Texeira put together a series of discussion questions about Tim Hensley's Wally Gropius for use in book clubs. As these questions are intended for those who have read the book, please be warned that contain spoilers [We've placed any spoilers behind the jump – Ed.].
How the Story is Told
Wally Gropius is broken up into a collection of small episodes that end with punch lines. How did this affect your reading experience, i.e. your engagement with the story and feelings for the characters?
What affect does solid color instead of detailed backgrounds have on the story? Did they affect the sense of "reality" in the comic?
Do all the visual and textual puns create their own narrative, or do they just exist for humor's sake? Do they add complexity to narrative?
Compare and contrast the punning in the sound effects of Wally Gropius with how other creators use onomatopoeia. How did you respond to that?
This interview was conducted by Comics Journal editorial intern Christine Texeira and proofread by TCJ's Kristy Valenti and myself. Thanks to all! –Ed.
Christine Texeira: This catalog is a reprinting of an original DeMoulin Bros. catalog from 1930, but there were other DeMoulin Bros. catalogs and earlier catalogs from competing companies (Pettibone, etc.) — why this catalog in particular?
Charles Schneider: Catalog #439 cannot be topped. It has nearly all of the devices ever created by the company. All of the stops were pulled out and the kitchen sink was thrown in. It is the best and final edition of this sort of thing and it's likes will never be seen again. It was, as historian John Goldsmith has stated, the "Christmas wishbook" of the DeMoulin Brothers. They put the most insane and ultimately super-wackiest things in it after YEARS of MADCAP creating. This was their final bid at creating lovingly crafted, truly inventive, deliciously surreal, nasty and often diabolically cruel works of art that were both appealed to the highest and lowest of aesthetics all at once. Often decadent dandies make the most merciless pranksters.
CT: Can you define exactly what "burlesque paraphernalia" and "side-degree specialties" are?
CS: They are props, devices, gags and gadgets designed to assist fraternal orders on creating dramatic, pseudo-esoteric initiation (or hazing) dramas.
CT: Can you give us a little history of pranks and fraternal organizations?
CS: Fraternal organizations discovered that they could gain members by increasing the fun and outrageous drama of the initiation "rituals." It is fun to be part of a "secret" club. And after going through a humiliating prank initiation, it was all the more fun to anticipate a friend's face — when he goes through the same gauntlet of goats and shocks!
CT: Specifically: fraternal organizations, like the Freemasons, never took part in any of these pranks — who did? How were they affiliated to established fraternal organizations, like the Freemasons?
CS: Groups such as The Modern Woodmen of America, the Knights of the Maccabees, The Woodmen of the World, the Knights of Pythias, The Improved Order of Redmen, The Elks, the Odd Fellows were just SOME of the groups that used the DeMoulin Bros. creations. Often, men would be members of multiple groups. Some people are just "joiners," and collect membership cards like badges. The[re] might be a member of the quite serious Freemasons, as well as groups which focus more on social interaction and networking.
CT: How were masks, wigs, beards, costumes, etc. used in "side-degree" initiations vs. traditional initiations?
CS: The wigs, costumes and beards etc. were used in the initiation skits. In fact, there are suggestions given for various costumes to be worn in connection with specific devices. Such as — wearing a donkey or tramp or "yellow kid" head while leading a man to his potential spiked and electrified doom.
Of the myriad genres comic books ventured into during its golden age, none was as controversial as or came at a greater cost than horror; the public outrage it incited almost destroyed the entire industry. Yet before the watchdog groups and Congress could intercede, horror books were flying off the newsstands. During its peak period (1951-54) over fifty titles appeared each month. Apparently there was something perversely irresistible about these graphic excursions into our dark side, and Four Color Fear collects the finest of these into a single robust and affordable volume.
EC is the comic book company most fans associate with horror; its complete line has been reprinted numerous times, and deservedly so. But to the average reader there remain unseen quite a batch of genuinely disturbing, compulsive, imaginative, at times even touching, horror stories presented from a variety of visions and perspectives, many of which at their best can stand toe to toe with EC.
All of the better horror companies are represented: Ace, Ajax-Farrell, American Comics Group, Avon, Comic Media, Fawcett, Fiction House, Gilmor, Harvey, Quality, Standard, St. John, Story, Superior, Trojan, Youthful and Ziff-Davis. Artist perennials Jack Cole, Reed Crandall, George Evans, Frank Frazetta, Jack Katz, Al Williamson, Basil Wolverton, and Wallace Wood contribute both stories and covers, with many of the 32 full-sized covers created by specialists Bernard Baily, L.B. Cole, William Eckgren, and Matt Fox. (See below for a link to the full Table of Contents.)
Editors John Benson and Greg Sadowski have sifted through hundreds of rare books to cherry-pick the most compelling scripts and art, and they provide extensive background notes on the artists, writers, and companies involved in their creation. Digital restoration has been performed with subtlety and restraint, mainly to correct registration and printing errors, with every effort made to retain the flavor of the original comics, and to provide the reader the experience of finding in the attic a bound volume of the finest non-EC horror covers and stories of the pre-code era.
Download an EXCLUSIVE 26-page PDF excerpt (19.4 MB) featuring four complete stories: "The Corpse that Came to Dinner" by Reed Crandall & Mike Peppe; "The Maze Master" by Lou Cameron; "Swamp Monster" by Basil Wolverton; and "Discovery" by Manny Stallman & John Guinta. Also, click here to read the Introduction by John Benson and see the full Table of Contents with story titles and artist credits.
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